Introduction: Vintage Bike Lights to LED Conversion
Runner Up in the
Green Design Contest
In early summer 2013 I bought this beat down bicycle, made by NSU (germany). According to the frame number it was built around 1952. The idea was (and still is) to create a bike worthy and capable of towing my red kids-trailer.
This instructable is only about the lights of this bike. There will come some more ibles about other parts of the (still ongoing) project.
The idea here was to fit battery powered LED's into the existing lamps at a low budget. Because when towing a trailer I don't want to spend energy on creating electricity for my lights!
If you're interested head over to step 1 for parts...
Step 1: Parts and Tools
I had two cheap LED-lensers lying around on one side and the bikes old lights, dynamo and a toolbag on the other side. I had no more use for the dynamo, so I sold it on ebay and the toolbag was to beat down (torn straps) so I put it aside.
The lensers were taken apart to get the LED's, the leftovers tossed.
Not pictured: two-wire cable, switch
As tools I used mostly standard equipment. Nothing special here apart from a soldering station and terminal cables: pliers, screwdrivers, side cutters, pen and paper, knife, ...
Step 2: Tail Light
First I did the tail light. To build in the LED's I had to open it first. I did this by bending open the metal ring which was holding the glass with a small screwdriver. Be careful to avoid to much damage here.
I was lucky, the circuit board with the LED's was a perfect fit. So I soldered on the wires (the clear glue is just to add extra protection and to reduce strain on the soldering points) and glued the circuit board into the housing. After that I put glass and metal ring back on place and bent the ring back (again with a screwdriver).
The hole in the back of the housing I closed with some foam, covered with black taped. Not that beautiful, but it works.
Step 3: Front Light
To get the LED into the front light I had to cut the reflector. Usually I don't like to destroy old things but this reflector had it's best days behind, so the decision was not to hard. After it was cut, I again glued the circuit board to the reflector (after the soldering of the necessary wires).
Step 4: Cabling
After the LED's were mounted in their housings I had to think of the proper cabling. My knowledge of electrical system is very basic (so no resistors and stuff like that). I did a rough sketch and tested it with some terminal cables I had around.
After testing a few options I had found a way to make good use of my on-off-on switch: (front and tail)-(off)-(front-only). I know that 9V is probably to much juice for my LED but as long as it works I don't worry about that.
After testing I finished the cabling with wire in proper length and some nice plugs.
Step 5: (Re)assembly
With all the cabling done it was time to fit everything in.
The frontlight was big enough to hold the reflector and the 9V battery. There was already a small hole, perfect for the switch, and another gap to run the cable trough (had to cut off the plug already in place...). Be sure to make a knot in the cable on the inside of the lamp to reduce strain.
All plugged an soldered I put shrink tubes on switch an plug joints, just to be sure, that everything stays, where it's supposed to be.
To avoid the 9V battery rattling around in the light housing, I fitted a piece of foam to hold it in place.
Step 6: Results
Finally I put the lights back on the bike. The cabling almost disappears and the light is really bright.
So one step of many done on the bike. On to the next one.....
If you want to follow the project and know some german or want to struggle with google translator, you can find more pictures and information here
If you liked this instructable, feel free to vote for me in the contests! ;-)
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